Streetcar platform dug in 1950s and never used sits behind a door, a buried relic of an old transit vision. To the thousands of patrons passing through the Queen subway station, it’s just another anonymous TTC maintenance door. But there are no mops and pails behind the grey door labelled “9Y94.” Instead there’s a link to the past and how a transit vision was mothballed as the city pushed north.
TTC insiders call it “Lower Queen” or the “Queen Street cave” – an underground streetcar platform installed in the early 1950s during excavation of the original Yonge subway line. It’s actually a tunnel about three streetcars long, closed off at both ends. For half a century it has sat empty except for some pipes and vents routed along its walls. Lower Queen is a lesser known TTC “ghost” station. Riders actually got to use another one, the Lower Bay station, last winter when it was briefly pressed into service while tunnel maintenance work was done nearby. The 1950s excavation of a streetcar platform at Queen was rated an act of foresight, anticipating a future streetcar system that would run partly underground.